Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks

There was a little bit of everything going on at Belmont Park on Saturday when the marquee G1 Belmont Derby provided the stage for the stakes breakthrough of the progressive Far Bridge. Irish invader Aspen Grove popped up to cause a shock at 15-1 in the G1 Belmont Oaks.

Breeders Cup Odds

2023 Belmont Derby

G1, $750,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo

Derby glory for Bridge

The honours were shared in the transatlantic battles on the Belmont Park lawn on Saturday, but the main event stayed at home when Far Bridge turned back British hope The Foxes to make his stakes breakthrough in the Belmont Derby, with longshot Mondego a game third.

Mondego set steady fractions in company with Silver Knott and that pair quickened clear around the turn, but Far Bridge got a dream run up the hedge and the 3-1 second-choice quickly clicked into overdrive. He ran down the leaders at the sixteenth pole, driving on to win by a length from the favourite The Foxes, who started slowly and was always a long way off the pace, but rallied hard late to nose Mondego into the show spot.

Belmont Derby Race Video

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The Belmont Derby was taken by Far Bridge #Horsesoftiktok #Horsestiktok #Sports #FYP #Sports

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“We’ve worked on him to get him to run straight,” said jockey Jose Ortiz, who signed for four winners on the day. “I got a beautiful trip around and when I tipped him out he exploded.”

A runner-up on his two previous stakes starts, Far Bridge has never finished out of the first two in his five races, and trainer Todd Pletcher will point him towards the G1 Saratoga Derby on August 5.

Belmont Derby Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Far Bridge8.705.403.20
2. The Foxes4.203.30
3. Mondego12.40

Winning time: 2m 01.75s

2023 Belmont Oaks

G1, $500,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo fillies

Aspen strikes for Ireland

The Europeans had drawn first blood when Irish raider Aspen Grove sprang a surprise in the Belmont Oaks, getting up to nail long-time leader Prerequisite close home with Papilio a narrow third in an exciting finish.

The 15-1 chance was stretching out for the first time and her stamina was the key factor, as she needed pretty much the entire stretch to reel in third-choice Prerequisite and get home by three-quarters of a length, with Papilio coming from even further back to claim third, a neck behind. The favoured Mission Of Joy was close up early but dropped away late to finish seventh.

Belmont Oaks Race Video

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Aspen Grove wins the Belmont Oaks #Horsesoftiktok #Horsestiktok #Sports #FYP #Sports

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“It wasn’t too difficult a ride,” said jockey Oisin Murphy, a former British champion. “We saved ground on the rail and I switched out when I needed to, she’s a very nice filly.”

This victory was the first at the top level for trainer James ‘Fozzy’ Stack, son of the great Tommy Stack, who rode the legendary steeplechaser Red Rum to win his third Grand National in 1977. Aspen Grove is expected to stay Stateside now and target either the G3 Saratoga Oaks on August 4 or the G1 Del Mar Oaks (August 19).

Belmont Oaks Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Aspen Grove33.4013.609.20
2. Prerequisite5.504.10
3. Papilio4.50

Winning time: 2m 04.09s

Stay tuned for the latest Breeders’ Cup Odds. Check out the World’s major Racetrack entries, Breeders Cup qualifying races, Breeders Cup Win and you’re in.

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